Nature’s 4Play personal body lubricant was designed to bring peace of mind. Pleasure should bring intimacy and joy, and not worry or concern whether the ingredients are safe for long term use. Most people don’t give it a second thought as they lather their bodies most sensitive and permeable regions with lubricant, though for safety sake they should.
Nature’s 4Play was designed by a naturopathic doctor after examining the lubricants promoted as natural. It turned out that the ingredients were not safe, even of those products directed to the natural health industry. The most popular lubricants contain nothing that is natural, and attempt to discredit safe and natural ingredients. The original purpose of a lubricant is to add moisture and to prevent friction, rubbing and discomfort to an act that should be enjoyable and pleasant.
Lubricants are particularly beneficial for women, as—mainly during sex—they provide short-term relief from vaginal dryness and increased pain that could occur with prolonged sex. Water-based lubricants have the advantage of being non-staining and water soluble. An internet-based, double-blind, prospective study found that water-based lubricants are associated with fewer genital symptoms in women, compared with silicone-based lubricants. Vaginal moisturizers are to moisturize the mucosa, mainly for the water to adhere to the mucosa. The best ones contain plant-based polymers such as aloe vera, which helps to heal the sensitive vaginal and/or anal tissues.
Natural lubricants have safety in mind concerning emollients and preservatives in order to prevent bacterial contamination. It is recommended to choose a product that is optimally balanced in terms of ingredients, and that both osmolality (concentration) and pH is similar to natural vaginal secretions.
Personal body lubricants are widely used products and for good reason: they are effective at reducing discomfort at the time used. When applied vaginally or rectally, they increase lubrication but health professionals and researchers are becoming increasingly concerned about the possible health risks with their long term use. Unfortunately, in many cases not enough care has been taken in their design with the products’ main concern being the overcoming of dryness and not other, health related ones.
Vaginal lubricants are normally gel-like substances designed to add moisture to offset vaginal dryness, or when the body’s natural lubrication is inadequate, which results in discomfort or pain for an act that should give pleasure. Vaginal dryness is experienced by many women, especially from situational and health related conditions such as
aging and menopause,
hormonal imbalance—due to a lack of progesterone
glandular deficiencies such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
side-effects of several medications
When surveyed, over 65% of women in the United States reported using some form of vaginal lubricant in the previous month. Are some lubricants toxic? This is dependent on how the lubricant was formulated. The sensitive areas of application such as the vagina and anus are highly permeable, and anything that is applied topically can quickly be absorbed into the bloodstream. The design of most lubricants does not consider how the ingredients will affect long term health; most of the ingredients have no certification of their origin to ensure they are safe for internal use. We must consider the chemical stabilizers as well, as many (e.g. parabens, a very common preservative) are known carcinogenic. Parabens can affect estrogen levels within the body by creating a hormone imbalance, and effect reproductive health. Then there is the need to match the lubricant pH balance to the body’s pH balance; if too acidic or too alkaline, it could lead bacterial growth and vaginitis, which is painful and discomforting.
There are several factors to consider, mainly the preservatives and chemical stabilizers, dyes and colours and ingredients to alter pH levels, as well as disrupt hormones, since they can be harmful, especially for long term use.
Parabens: weak estrogenic compounds that may disrupt endocrine balance. They have been detected in breast tumors, but there is no conclusive evidence if they are associated with carcinogenesis or significant toxicity. Further research is needed.
Propylene glycol: may cause tissue trauma and possible damage to veins. The risk of dermatitis, arthralgia (joint pain) and polyneuropathy (peripheral nerve damage) has been reported in about 10% of patients.
Dimethicone: (polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS) is a silicone-based polymer. Generally considered safe, possible side effects may include dryness, slight irritation, and allergic reactions, in severe cases burning, stinging, redness, or irritation may occur.
Phenoxyethanol: preservative used in cosmetics to limit bacterial growth. It can cause skin and lung irritation and is possibly toxic to the kidneys, nervous system, and liver. Repeated, long-term exposure can cause organ damage.
Isopropyl palmitate: An ester product of isopropyl alcohol and palmitic acid (palm oil, which may be sourced from animals, according to PETA). Because it is alcohol based, with long term use it may dry out the skin.
Tetrasodium EDTA: a chelating agent made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. It is classified as a known human carcinogen. EDTA is a known chelator and may bind to certain mineral ions to inactivate them, and may affect the passage of other chemicals into the skin. Based on the available data, these ingredients are safe as used in cosmetic formulations.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): synthetic antioxidants and preservatives. BHT can act as a tumour promoter in certain situations. Limited evidence suggests that high doses of BHT may mimic estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, and prevent expression of male sex hormones, resulting in adverse reproductive affects.
Fragrance or perfume: over 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances. There is evidence suggesting that exposure to perfume can exacerbate asthma, and perhaps even contribute to its development in children.
PEGs (polyethylene glycols): petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide (a known human carcinogen which can harm the nervous system) and 1,4-dioxane (a possible human carcinogen).
Petrolatum: either a mineral oil or jelly, used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin. It can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Studies suggest that exposure to PAHs—including skin contact over extended periods of time—is associated with cancer.
Triclosan: mainly used as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent. It can pass through skin, and may interfere with hormone function (endocrine disruption).
Nature’s 4Play has only safe ingredients that heal and benefit the body while moisturizing. The principle ingredient is organic aloe vera, with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant benefits helping to treat and heal the skin. Flax seed extract helps to minimise skin rashes, irritation and redness, and recover wounds faster. We have also added a minimal amount of vegetable glycerine, enough to help with lubrication and sweetness to the palate, while considering its versatility with the right dosage. The preservatives are completely natural, the same as we use in all our skin creams.
Use Nature’s 4Play with confidence and focus on joyful play knowing that you are using the best of the best because you deserve it!
Edwards, D., & Panay, N. (2016). Treating vulvovaginal atrophy/genitourinary syndrome of menopause: how important is vaginal lubricant and moisturizer composition? Climacteric: the journal of the International Menopause Society, 19(2), 151–161. doi:10.3109/13697137.2015.1124259